Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A revelation, courtesy of someone else's mind

One of the things that has really bothered me since Thomas died (and during the ensuing childless-but-not-for-lack-of-trying-and-trying-and-trying years) is the way I've felt about other people's pregnancies. I have been riddled with guilt for feeling a whole host of unpleasant things upon hearing pregnancy announcements and upon seeing bulging belly after belly after belly all around me (quite literally, since my neighbourhood is now on its second baby boom since Thomas died).

The intensity has lessened. The shock isn't quite the same. And there is now real joy that I think - or at least I hope - actually comes across when a friend tells me she's pregnant. Because I feel that now. I really do.

But yeah, I still feel some of the bad stuff too. And it still makes me feel guilty as sin every single time.

I've tried to rationalize it, and that usually works like a too small band-aid for a little while. I tell myself that I held my dying child in my arms and kissed him goodbye in a cluttered hospital office, and so it's okay for someone else's happy news about their own live, growing child to reduce me to tears in the privacy of my own quiet little bedroom. I tell myself that, but I don't always believe it.

It seems wrong to feel like I've been drop-kicked in the gut when someone else tells me news that I know (in a way thousands upon thousands of women never will) is such a blessing.

And I wonder each time when the hell that kick will stop coming. Or at the very least when the guilt that follows will ever go away and leave me alone.

I wonder if it'll be when menopause sets in - when I'm no longer physically able to bear my own children. Or if we have another child. Or if we adopt.

I just wonder if this particular hurt and guilt will ever go away.

I came across another blogger's musings on this subject last week. She had an epiphany about the whole thing after hearing the news of a 43-year old friend's pregnancy after just three months of trying. Unassisted.

She said that she did feel true joy at her friend's news, but at the same time she had the unsettling notion that the gods were laughing at her (she's had several losses and undergone every fertility treatment under the sun).

And then (and this is the good part) she realized that it was okay. Okay. Because the way she was feeling wasn't about any ill will she felt towards her friend. It was, as she said, all about her.

WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS??? It's so simple. And it makes such perfect sense.

I don't begrudge my friends their children - their shot at parenthood - nor do I want anyone I know to suffer the loss of a child. I don't. I want them to be happy and to have as many children as their little hearts desire. I do. I really do.

It just happens that the flip side of all that good stuff happening to other people is a whole bunch of not-so-nice emotions for me. Happy news reminds me of my sadness. But it's about me. It's about my sorrow. It's the flood of memories that wash over me, the "what ifs", the "I wishes"...

They're about me. They're about Thomas, my other two angels and the babies I just can't seem to make.

The feelings have nothing to do with anyone else but us, and therefore I can have all of them, theoretically, guilt-free.

And so I'm going to work on that. I have enough guilt crawling the walls of my brain without holding on to any more.

Let's see if this works, shall we?


Ruby said...

Great thought. "It's all about me," of course!

The ill feelings (I STILL have after 6 years) aren't toward the pregnant person. They're about me.

And guilt...well, I don't really feel guilty. I guess I should, I just don't. If I verbalized to said pregnant person how I felt about their "Blessed Event" then, I guess I would feel guilty afterward.

A few weeks ago a woman I know who is due next month (I'll call her A) came to speak to a woman (B) sitting directly in front of me (I mean about a foot away.) So A, squealing with pleasure congratulates B on her pregnancy. It seems B is eleven weeks. They were both so overwhelmed with joy and giggling and rubbing bellies that...I almost threw up. REALLY! Literally. I became physically ill. The dizziness, nausea, the whole ten yards. I had to leave or would have thrown up right on them.

I never did feel guilty.

Julia said...

Sounds about right to me.

Ruby, that just blows. I am sorry you seem to be surrounded by smug and inconsiderate women at work. Maybe you should think about bringing in something very good and very smelly to eat for lunch. That might repay (B) in kind. :)

wannabe mom said...

thank you, thank you for writing about this. i couldn't write in my blog about my best friend getting pregnant 2 months after the twins died, because she reads my blog. and her pregnancy wasn't exactly planned. and she's on her 4th husband. but i digress, and i shouldn't judge about her 'deservedness.' anyway, we had a discussion slash crying fest and although we understand each other i'm still a bit miffed about the timing but in the end, i don't wish her any harm and i am very happy for her but so very sad for me.

yet another friend told me this weekend that she's pregnant after 5 years of trying. of course i'm happy for her! but it seriously bummed me out to the point of insomnia the night she told me.

as far as pregnant women friends go, do you avoid them? i do, but only because i don't want to hurt.

vixanne wigg said...

If I'm being honest with myself, I wish that everyone I knew was done with the whole having kids thing. I would just like everyone in my life to be over that point in their lives. It's not that I'm not happy for them. I just hate all the feelings it brings up in me.

The thing I think I still have trouble with is trying to remember that it's not about me. That even though those words bring up all kinds of fears and worries in me, no one wants to hear about those fears and worries. I have to deal with them by myself.

Bronwyn said...

I will tell you that the complete loss of fertility via menopause has done nothing to lessen the pain of hearing about other perfectly planned families, for me, anyway. I doubt that particular pain will ever go away, no matter how irrational it may be. It's certainly a lot less potent than it was at the beginning and it does help to try to remember (as a couple of people pointed out) that their situation has nothing to do with me... but the pang is still there. It's just another in a long list of things to get used to post baby-loss, I suppose.

JellyJen said...

((HUGS)) to you sweetie!

wannabe mom said...

thanks for your message. i may someday get to a place where i can be around preggo friends. immersion...hmm...sounds scary!

Patience said...

Oh what a wise blogger she must be! ;)

Seriously though - I'm so glad I made sense to someone!